Commenting on the publication of the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) consultation on advertising broadband speed claims, Till Sommer, ISPA Policy Lead, said:

“The consultation marks a welcome shift to the current standards for broadband speed advertising which ISPA feels no longer deliver for consumers and our members.

The consultation comes at a time where, together with the relevant regulators, ISPs are actively developing and improving broadband speed and pricing information. We particularly support CAP’s suggestions that adverts should prompt consumers to ask providers for a more personalised speed estimate. Our members already provide this kind of information as part of their sales journey and we would also urge consumers to consider other factors such as brand, service quality, speed and the availability of bundled services when choosing their providers.

The consultation correctly recognises that broadband speeds depend on several factors, many of which are outside of a provider’s control, including in-home wiring and end-user devices. Accordingly, CAP are right to highlight the challenge of devising standards for one-to-many advertising that reflect the technical complexities of delivering broadband services, while also providing consumers with an accurate level of information.

Of the four options outlined by CAP, we believe that proposals that would require the inclusion of a speed range are very likely to be confusing to consumers, particularly if combined with a percentile-based user rate. We will now be working closely with our members to study the alternative options in detail and to ensure that the new broadband advertising standards provide consumers with a clear expectation of the speeds they are likely to receive, while also supporting the growth and development of the already very competitive and dynamic broadband market in the UK.”